The Greenbelt Company
Edward "Dancer" Bournelock
The Greenbelt Company's Guide, Tracker, and Expert Marksman
"I don’t know too much about Edward Bournelock’s childhood. Most of us reckon he came from New Stetven, since he started making a name for himself robbing travelers on the North Road by the capitol. About ten years ago he was running around with some lousy fellers, called themselves ‘The Blue Dragon Company.’ Huh, as if those cowardly shits ever even saw a dragon, let alone a blue. Anyways, they’d stick up caravans leaving the capitol with supplies for the lake. Word is they never took on anybody their size, always looked for the smaller caravans and hit ‘em riding out of the woods and shooting from the dark. A few people would make it out alive, every now and then, but usually they didn’t leave many folk around who mighta sent for the marshal.
Anyways, they looted and robbed with no one stoppin’ ‘em for about a year. They’d hit a caravan and disappear back into the woods away from the reach of the marshal and his men. Eventually some infighting broke out in the crew though, with Edward right in the middle of it. Seems like Bournelock had been stashing some of his loot, and the rest of the bastards got jealous. They told him he had to split his stash with the rest of them, or he’d be out on his own. He told them to go stick their heads in pig shit.
Now, Dancer’s the fastest feller that I ever seen draw a bow, but when there’s twenty or so ruffians after something you ain’t given ‘em, and you just equated their faces with what comes out the ass end of a pig…well, he’s fast, but he’s not that fast.
Those blue dragon knuckleheads knocked him around a bit and then left him, tied up, outside the marshal’s manor in a village north of New Stetven. When the marshal woke up to that trussed up present, he didn’t waste any time serving out the King’s justice. I don’t know about what happens where yer from, but round here banditry’s normally punished by a hanging. From the neck. Until dead.
It was rainy morning, but that didn’t stop half the town from turning up to see Edward Bournelock strung up on the gallows. Thing is, when the Marshal gave the order and the big feller in the black hat pulled the lever, Bournelock fell down too slow. Instead of his neck snapping, he just hung there, a danglin’ and a dancin’ on the end o’ that rope until the rope snapped clean right above the noose. The Marshal wasn’t having it, though, so he grabbed a brand new rope from the general store and strung him up again. Word spread after the first time, and the other half of the town that was avoiding the rain came out to see Edward hanged for sure. The marshal got up on the gallows homself to pull that switch. He said, “Alright, boy, now you’re gonna hang for what you’ve done. I gotta brand new rope and I don’t care if I gotta watch you dance all day. You had your chance to do right, and now you gotta pay.” He yanked that switch, but when Ed fell down, his neck didn’t snap, and he coughed and he hacked and he danced and he swung, and then that brand new rope snapped clean in half, just like the time before.
The whole crowd went silent, ‘cept for Ed, who was coughing and a wheezin’ and a cursing up a storm. Then the clouds cleared from the sky above and a beam of brilliant light shone down on that boy, still twitching in the mud. Every man there swears that a single pure-white dove flew down and landed on top of them gallows, looking down at Ed. Now I ain’t a religious man, but you heard of Serenrae, right? Goddess of light…fire and redemption lady…the one with all those dancing festivals in the summer? Yep. Well, there was a priest in the crowd, I think his name was Vikopt or Vikoff, or something…Anyways, he said that it was a sign from above, and that the dancer deserved to live. The marshal was not a stupid man, and with the whole town convinced they’d seen a miracle he figured he’d better just let Ed go. In the care of the priest, of course.
That priest, Vitokk, he took Ed with him on his travels and, even though he could have, Edward never ran away. Thing is, I think he actually learned a lot from that holy feller. Compassion, kindness, forgiveness, you know, all that mushy stuff. Pretty soon, stories started to spread about a Priest of Sarenrae and his ranger friend the Dancer. They went all around the kingdom looking for folks who needed a second chance, and they did all they could to give it to ’em.
That went on for a year or two before they ran into some trouble on the North Road heading back into New Stetven for the Summer Solstice. Vikkep and Dancer stopped in to a tavern for the night, but five or six bandit basterds that used to be Blue Dragons wandered in looking for a fight. When they saw Dancer sitting in the corner, they flew into a spittin’ rage and started stompin’ over. That poor priest, he stood up and got between them trying to calm things down before it got to violence. Dancer knew what those fellers were about though, and he was out of his chair with a knife in his hand before the blue dragons got another step closer. When the blue dragons saw the knife, they lost it, and ran at him with murder in their eyes.
When it was all said and done, there were six bandits on the floor — and one old priest bleeding into Dancer’s hands.
That wasn’t all too long ago, and Dancer’s been roaming around from tavern to tavern ever since. Some folks say that he finally dug up that stash from his banditry days, and that’s he’s looking for a way to forget what happened. I don’t know for sure, but he seems like a good sort to me. Always closes his tab anyways…eventually. If you see him, don’t mention the scar round his neck. He oughta be here soon…What are you drinking anyways?"